Tips to Buying a Car from a Private Seller

a man and a woman by a car contemplating if they want to buy a car from a private seller

Buying a car from a private seller may save you some money compared to buying from a dealership. However, you still want to do some research to make sure you are getting a good deal. Here are five tips to follow when purchasing a car from a private seller:

Do Research

When you find a car that you are interested in, you will have to do your homework on the car. First, start with a vehicle history report. The report will disclose any accidents or damage the car has had. Afterward, ask the owner questions such as if they have a service record of the maintenance done on the car or if there are issues with the car. This will help you get a better idea of the car. 

Take a Test Drive

You can get a better feel for the car by taking it out for a test drive. Note how the brakes and suspension feel as it drives. Keep an ear out for any odd noises, especially when accelerating and braking. Check to make sure that certain functions such as the turn signal and lights work. 

Get an Inspection

Take the car to a mechanic so they can perform a safety inspection on it. They will be able to tell you if there are any issues with the car. The mechanic can also determine if there is any damage caused by an accident that was not reported. Find a local mechanic that you trust to look at the car thoroughly. 

Shop for Financing

Unless you have cash on the spot to pay for the full price of the car, you will need to get financing. Shop around for different financing options. Some banks will offer loans specifically designed for private auto sales. Look around at different loans and see where you can get the best rate. 

Get the Paperwork

After you and the seller have agreed to a final price and your financing is covered, you will want to get the paperwork for the car. This includes the title being signed over to you, lien information, and odometer disclosure statement. After filing the paperwork and paying any fees, you will get a new car title under your name. If you’re dealing with someone from another state, make sure to check our post on how to ship a car to another state to know what mistakes to avoid.

In Conclusion

Buying a car from a private seller will require some more time and effort from you. Before you finalize the sale, make sure you do things such as ask questions, do a test drive, and get an inspection done by a trusted mechanic. If done right, you can purchase a used car at a lower price than at a dealership. 

Five Questions to Ask Before Buying a Used Car

 A woman in a dress and red heels, smiling at the camera as she is set up in buying a used car in color yellow

Buying a used car can be a great way to get behind the wheel of an excellent automobile without spending a lot of cash. However, since no two pre-owned vehicles are alike, you must first find out more about the vehicle before you sign on the dotted line. If you’re looking at a used car in another state, best be looking at auto transport reviews. This will help you determine mistakes you may make before you ship vehicles to you.

But in particular, you will want to find the answers to the following questions:

1.    Has the car been involved in any accidents?

This is a crucial question as it helps you find out whether the car has any performance issues. You can find this information out by asking the dealer directly or by using sites like Carfax or Checking the paintwork, bringing your mechanic along to the dealership, and being on the lookout for clamp marks are a few other methods you can use to check a used car’s accident history. Asking about a car’s accident history will help you know how much you will need to spend to fix any performance issues in addition to helping you determine whether the car is safe enough for you and your family to travel in.

2.    Why is the owner selling this used car?

It is important to find out whether the owner wants to sell to upgrade to a newer or bigger car, or because of performance issues.  If the owner reveals that he has to get the car serviced or repaired every so often, then you might want to give that particular vehicle a pass.

3.    Whose name is on the pink slip?

Find out whose name is on the car’s title. If you are buying directly from an individual, then his/her name should be on the slip. The same goes for a dealership that should have its name printed on the cars it is selling. If the title is in a bank’s name, then it means that the seller has an outstanding loan that you will need to clear before the title can be transferred to you. In addition, if the seller is unwilling or unable to show you the pink slip, it is probably best to walk away in order to avoid being scammed.

4.    What is the used car’s mileage?

A vehicle with low mileage will usually give you service longer without requiring major service. A low mileage car will also sell easier in case you decide to dispose of it. Further, banks are more willing to offer to finance on low mileage cars as opposed to high mileage options. You can find this information by asking the owner to show you the odometer, using Carfax, or contacting the department of motor vehicles.

5.    What are the common problems with buying a used car?

Find out typical problems for the particular model you want to purchase. All models have problems but you will want to stay away from those that require expensive repairs or replacement. Common problems include; faulty gearboxes (BMW 3 series), malfunctioning brakes (land rover discovery), and failing alternators (Ford Focus). If the model you are interested in has one or more of these problems, you may want to move on to the next option.

In Closing

By asking and answering the questions outlined above, you can successfully find out the information you need to know about your prospective purchase. If you are satisfied with the results of your inquiries, you can then take possession of the keys and drive away in your new ride.

All-Wheel Drive vs. Snow Tires: Which is Better for Winter Driving?

a red vehicle in contrast to which is between between all-wheel drive and snow tires

The combination of freezing road surfaces and slippery snow makes winter driving treacherous. Drivers have two choices to stay safe: an all-wheel-drive car or a two-wheel drive car equipped with snow tires. Learn the strengths of each option to decide whether you are better served by snow tires or an all-wheel-drive car.

Why Buy All-Wheel Drive Autos for Winter?

Whether you prefer an SUV, crossover, truck, or car, you will find a version equipped with all-wheel drive, which chooses whether to send power to the front or back tires depending on the terrain. Two-wheel drive autos, in contrast, send power either to the front or back depending on the individual make and model. The advantage of all-wheel drive is that power goes where your car needs it to improve traction in rough terrains, such as winter weather.

If you live in an area with heavy winters or wet, muddy springs, all-wheel drive is a smart choice. These cars can give drivers peace of mind that is well worth their extra price.

One of the cons is their gas mileage, which tends to be less than comparable two-wheel-drive cars. You will pay more upfront for all-wheel drive, plus more each time you gas up, so two-wheel drive cars are a better choice for budget shoppers.

Why Buy Snow Tires for Winter

Fans of snow tires like the ability to get better traction on winter roads just by putting on a new set of tires. Dedicated snow tires have a more flexible tread that grips the road and freezing conditions, which helps to reduce skids. These tires have a deeper groove than all-season tires, which increases traction on snow and ice. With all-season tires, there’s a risk of skidding if the tire treads become impacted by snow and ice.

If you live in an area that only sees snow occasionally, snow tires should suffice. As long as you remove them promptly at the end of winter, you will be able to use them for several years to come.

Winter tires or snow tires are not cheap, but they do cost less than an all-wheel-drive car. End-of-season sales often bring discounts. By planning ahead, you can save money. If you are planning to go out of the state, you may want to decide on the shipping factor as well. Know how to ship a car to another state that can save you a little more money in your pocket.

Now that you understand how snow tires are compared to all-wheel-drive vehicles, you can decide what’s best for you. With either choice, it’s important to stay safe and remember basic winter driving principles. 

Sell Your Car: 4 Steps to Take Before You Do

A woman in orange shirt stretching outside her car during sunset as she prepares to sell her car

To sell your car privately can seem complicated if you’ve never done it before but if you take the right steps, it doesn’t have to be difficult. You want to get the highest price for your car and avoid being low-balled by a private buyer. To do so, you’ll want to make sure your car looks great and that you are ready for a sale at any time. 

1. Have Your Car Detailed 

Getting your car detailed before selling it is vital. You will most certainly get more money when you sell than what you spent on the detail. A clean car fetches a higher price tag but it won’t be enough to clean your car yourself. After years of use, there are likely small marks and stains on your seats and rugs. You will be impressed by how sparkling a detailer can get your car to look. Don’t let your car look dingy, it will cost you money on the sales price. 

2. Get a Clean Inspection Before You Sell Your Car

You will sell your car more quickly if you have an inspection done to make sure there is nothing wrong with your car that requires a repair. If a repair does need to be made, it’s best to fix it yourself or disclose it in your ad. Whoever purchases your car privately will likely want to have their own inspection done and if their mechanic finds anything unsavory, it will have been a waste of your time. Get a clean bill of health on your car so you can assure buyers they will have no issues. 

3. Gather Your Documents

There are a variety of documents you will need in order to sell your car. The vehicle title, registration, insurance card, and bill of sale will all be required. Don’t potentially lose a sale because you were unprepared before meeting with your buyer. Have all your documentation readily available in case someone wants to purchase your car on the spot. 

4. Get an Appraisal 

While you can use Kelly Blue Book for a general estimate of what your car is worth, you may benefit from speaking to a professional. Go to a car dealership and offer to sell the car to a dealer. The dealer may not offer what you want immediately, but you can use the amount they were willing to pay as an estimate of your car’s worth. It is important to know the value of your car as a private seller may want to haggle on the cost. 

Be prepared prior to make the decision to sell your car. Making sure your car looks its best and is in tip-top shape will ensure that you make as much money as possible on the sale of your car. If you have a buyer outside the state, you might want to check our post on Ship Car to Another State and find out extra details on how to do it too.

Best Price on a Car: Here’s What You Should Do

man looking inside a shiny vintage car  trying to think what best price on a car he can offer.

Negotiating the best price on a car must be dealt with on the first chance you have. The earlier you talked to the seller, the better price you will have by the end. But when it comes time to purchase a new vehicle, most drivers are searching for just one thing – a reliable car at an affordable price. The best way to accomplish this goal is to find the vehicle that you want and then negotiate with the dealership on the price. 

In order to successfully negotiate, there are some helpful tips that you should follow, such as:


Before you ever begin your negotiation with the dealer, make sure that you have done your homework. Learn more about how they might negotiate with you and what the process will be like. You should also research the vehicle that you will be purchasing. Take a look online to see what the fair market value of the vehicle is; this will give you an idea of how much of a discount you can expect to receive.


Many dealerships will provide you with incentives and discounts if you choose to finance the purchase with them. In some circumstances, this can be a fantastic way to save money on the car. However, it is critical that you keep a close eye on the interest rates and fees that are associated with the deal. If their financing offerings aren’t up to par, it is almost always a good idea to use outside financing instead. You should speak to your bank or credit union ahead of time to find out what your rate would be.

Don’t Focus On The Monthly Payment

The salesperson will likely try to sell the vehicle to you using monthly payments. An additional $20 per month to your payment might not be a lot, but it can add up to $1,400 over a six-year loan. Try to steer the negotiation towards actual purchase prices and negotiate from there so you are not misled. Remember, you can always stand and walk out if the dealer is unwilling to talk on your terms.

Negotiating the purchase of any vehicle is a tricky and time-consuming process. If you live on the far side of the world, read our post about how much does it cost to ship a car to another state. It will also save you tons of money when you know how much you’ll be paying for it. And by following the tips contained in this article, you will soon find yourself in a new, reasonably-priced vehicle.

Four Ways to Get Top Dollar When Selling Your Car

A blue car that a blonde woman in a stripe shirt looking at selling her car.

Selling a car comes from so many reasons but whatever your reason for selling, you need to ensure that you make as much as possible from the sale. You can use strategies that attract buyers who are willing to pay the price you have listed. Additionally, if you have a buyer from out of the state, make sure to read more about our car shipping reviews post. You will know essential tips to save yourself from issues when transporting your car. Now, ff you are ready to sell your car, below are a few tips to ensure you get top dollar from your sale:

Calculate Your Car’s Value

Before attempting to sell your car, you should always take a few minutes to calculate its true value. Websites such as Autotrader, CarFax, and Kelley Blue Book will give you the information you need. All you need to do is enter your vehicle’s age, mileage, condition, and other information. Once you know how much your car is worth, you will be able to avoid being ripped off by an unscrupulous buyer.

Clean Your Car

Get your car professionally cleaned so it looks its best when buyers come around to view it. If it is in bad condition, hire a car detailer to help with buffing and waxing. Your detailer will give it a thorough clean of the exterior surfaces, including wheels and chassis. Next, they will clean the interior and upholstery using vinyl, hot water, and other gentle cleansers. Finally, they will wax your car’s exterior. When they are finished, your car will look brand new and will be ready to impress interested buyers.

Sell Your Car Privately

If you are trying to get as much cash as possible for your vehicle, you would be wise to consider selling it to a private party, as opposed to trading it in at your local car dealership. This sales method will allow you to deal directly with the interested buyer, making it easier to negotiate a higher price.

Take HD Photos

High-quality and high-definition photographs will attract buyers who are willing to spend a little bit more. If you cannot take the pictures yourself, consider hiring a professional photographer. Using high-quality pictures demonstrates to the buyer that you are willing to go the extra mile to showcase your products and make them more willing to pay the price you are asking for.

In Conclusion

Many car owners sell their cars for extremely low prices because they do not implement strategies that can help them get top dollar. However, by following a few easy tips to make your car more appealing, you can make more money from your sale. 

5 Safety Tips for Buying a Car from a Private Seller

A red Volkswagen park at the side of the street seemingly trying to gain attention from individuals who are buying a car.

Buying a car from a private seller can be much more affordable than purchasing from the dealership but there is a little more risk involved. If you have an issue with a car you bought from a dealership, you can hold the dealership responsible. Just like buying a car on eBay or from a private seller, you may never see that person again, so there are no safety measures in place. You are the only one responsible for any mishaps when you buy a car privately. Take the following steps to ensure you aren’t being scammed by a private seller.

1. Test Drive the Car

Before doing anything else, you should take your potential new car for a test drive. When test driving a car, you need to diligently look for any potential issues. Turn on the heater and the air conditioner to make sure they work, use both blinkers, turn on all the lights. While driving, you need to actively analyze the performance of the car to evaluate if it’s a good fit for you. 

2. Get An Inspection

Test driving the car is not enough to determine any potential issues with the car. Before you buy from a private seller, ask to have the car inspected. You will have to pay for the inspection yourself but it’s a cost that is worth paying to insure you won’t be spending more money on the car later on. If the private seller declines to let you inspect the vehicle, walk away from the sale entirely. Anyone who is against an inspection that you are footing the bill for is likely hiding some issues with the car. Always have the car inspected by your own mechanic, not a mechanic that the private seller suggests. 

3. Do a VIN Check 

Unfortunately, not all private sellers are honest about the state of a car’s title. There are scams that falsify car titles in order to make salvage cars look clean. Don’t take the title at face-value. While a VIN check will cost you money, you will save yourself cash down the road if the car is worth significantly less because of a salvage title. 

4. Check Kelly Blue Book 

It can be difficult to ascertain the actual worth of a car but Kelly Blue Book can help. You can look up the make, model, and year of a car for free on KBB and get an estimate of what that car should be worth. Make sure you’re not overpaying on a car by being informed about it’s value.

5. Ask for ID 

To be assured you’re not buying a stolen car, ask to see both the registration and the sellers license. Make sure the name on the license matches the name on the registration. You should only be buying directly from the owner of the car as they are the only person who can sign the title over to you. If something doesn’t match up, walk away from the sale immediately. 

While buying a car privately requires more work on your end than if you bought at a dealership, you’ll likely save a lot of money doing so. Make sure you purchase your next car responsibly using these safety tips.

Buying an Automobile: Where to Start

A new car can be bought from a franchised dealership, and there’s always one or more brand nearby in every city. If you want to purchase a brand new car, a dealer ‘s shop is where you should go to first. But some of the best places to start looking for cheap buys are the second hand car store.

Pre-owned, or as others would say “pre-loved”, cars have become more than just an alternative for car buyers. Some consumers never purchase new cars and only go for second hand cars. The primary reason is price. A brand new car costs more than a second hand car. Some second hand cars are also so well-maintained that they look brand new. Many car owners sell even when the car is still in working order for several reasons, including the desire to get a better model and a lifestyle change (moving to another state or country).

If you’re a new buyer or if you want to know where to start shopping for a car, read on for our tips.

Used Car Dealers

Over the decades, the second hand automobile business has blossomed. There are as many second hand car shops are there are dealerships in one city, and for good reason. Because cars have become more than just transportation tools, many consumers are choosing the trendiest models. Some consumers swap out cars that have hardly been used for the sake of owning a better-looking car.

What to expect in a used-car superstore? Expect to see a wide array of car models. Some of the larger stores keep an inventory of over two hundred used cars. In fact, the whole store looks like a gigantic parking lot. If you’re planning on going, make sure you devote the whole day to window shopping because you want to see each car in the inventory individually.

Many of the cars in second hand shops are old models. These vehicles originate from car auctions that are exclusive to car dealers. One of the advantages of purchasing your car from the second hand store is you get a warranty for your second hand car. This isn’t always an option if you buy your used car through other means, like your neighbor selling you his old car because he’s buying a new one. When you check the warranty these second hand car stores provide, you’ll notice that the coverage is similar to that provided by warranty from brand new car dealers.

Buy a Brand New Car

Dealerships keep a large inventory, which is almost as large as that of a second hand car store. Of course, when you get to the store, most of the time you will only see the latest model on display. But brand new cars of recent models are nearly always available, especially the ones that cater to a bigger market, like SUVs. But if you’re looking for collector cars that you can customize and modify all you want, you’re not going to find one in a brand new car store.

What some buyers do not know is that new car dealers also sell second hand or used cars. Some auction off the cars traded to them to clear their inventory, while others offer them at lower prices to customers. The thing is that a car dealer will probably invest more cash into reconditioning (compared with a second hand car dealer). There is better probability of selling the car if it is in the best condition possible.

New car dealers accept trade ins for a reason. They can sell new models and have the opportunity of selling another, slightly used, car. Most people trade in their cars for the chance to own the latest model and not because their cars are no longer working well. Thus, most trade-ins to dealers are in nearly perfect condition and need only the most minimal reconditioning to pass as brand new again.

How about the price? Second hand car prices are always negotiable, even when you’re buying the vehicle from a new car dealer. Admittedly, getting your vehicle from a second hand car warehouse is almost always less expensive. Some new car dealers also try to divert your attention to a car model that doesn’t sell well in their inventory. They argue that you’ll get a brand new car at approximately the same price you would pay for the second hand car.

Small-scale Dealers

Many enterprising individuals that love cars usually ease into the role of a dealer. These small used car dealers can be found in every state, and they prefer to keep their operations on a small scale. Most of the time, they trade and sell no more than twenty cars. It is relatively less complicated to negotiate with small companies, and you’ll probably get the car at the price you want. However, take note that the car may not be as well-maintained. Whatever amount of cash you save on the purchase may eventually go to extensive repairs.

Insider Information for Car Buyers

Transportation has become a primary need, particularly in a metropolitan area. Employees who cannot afford to stay in the urban commercial center where rents are high prefer to live in the suburbs and drive to work every day. Some people buy cars for practical reasons, and others see cars as investments. If the vehicle being sold is cheap but serviceable, a shrewd car buyer would purchase it.

Some questions to ask if you are planning to buy a car, whether second hand or brand new, are the following. Is the car fit for your lifestyle? Will you be able to use it for years before it starts showing signs of wear? Is the warranty still good? Many buyers go for second hand cars because they cannot afford to pay the price of a brand new one. But any car purchase is important, whether the car is new or not.

Is the car worth the price?

If you’re wondering when you should buy a car, many experienced car buyers would tell you to buy at month’s end. Some rebates may be available during this time, and these rebates are no longer available when the next month starts. A dealer would want to meet his sales quota for the month, and thus, he gives out generous discounts.

Many dealers start thinking about this when the month’s about to end. Most people who want to buy cars start browsing after the 15th, as some good deals may already be available at that time.

Functionality is important

When you enter a dealer’s store, you should have an idea what kind of car you want to buy. Some people stick with their decisions even when exposed to different models that come with attractive extras. It’s easy to fall for a sales talk, especially when the dealer starts talking about features. But not all features that make a car more expensive than others are useful to you. Many dealers start hard selling their more expensive cars this way. The basic thing about buying a car is to only purchase the features that will be functional to you.

Don’t feel pressured to buy and make sure you use your common sense to see through a dealer’s sales talk. After all, the next month, the price may already change.

Sleep on your decision and decide the next day whether you still want the car or not. Buying on impulse is not always good but impulsive buying can happen to anyone, especially if the dealer states that the car may be gone by tomorrow. As we stated above, the next month’s end will bring more discounts and more cars to choose from.

Trusting your instincts

You can usually tell if the deal is good just by observing how the salesman is relating with you. Some non-verbal signs tell you that the car is worth less than its sticker price. Of course, your decision or liking for the car may be affected by the skill of the dealer. But focus on the car and your needs. If the car is too expensive for you, just walk away.

Also, look for options elsewhere. Some cities or towns have few car dealers, so you may have to wait a long time before your dealer caves in and agrees to enter negotiations that are obviously in your favor. However, there are generally more than one car dealers in an area, and their competition may be beneficial for you.

Price on the Invoice

One thing you should remember is that the invoice price may be different from the final price. The invoice price is the amount paid by the dealer to the car manufacturer. Any discount that you were supposed to get depended on the amount in the invoice receipt. Some dealers balk at showing you the invoice because it would give you a clue on how much profit the dealer made by selling you the car at a certain price. You can negotiate better if you know how much the car is really worth considering any discount or incentive, and the profit of the dealer.

Invoice price information is important if you plan on buying a later model used car. The mileage will probably be low and the car will still have manufacturer’s warranty.


The SRP stands for suggested retail price, and this usually comes from the manufacturer. The suggested retail price is the same as the price on the sticker. This amount is usually the price that is being advertised. The SRP is important because you can base your negotiation approach on this price. You can expect to pay less than this amount, but the amount you can save depends on how your negotiations go. The dealer expects a buyer to request a lower price than what’s advertised and will probably adjust their deals accordingly.

What are incentives?

Rebates, bonuses, and extras are parts of a deal that are meant to attract customers. Most of the time, these offers are for cars in the inventory that are not selling as fast as the other models. When you see these offers being promoted, you have to ask yourself why this car is offered at this price or with these incentives. Ask about dealer incentives for a car you want to purchase before buying it.

In general, dealers disclose these incentives, but some may withhold the information to make more profit. Nothing beats window shopping to compare and contrast the deals available for a particular car brand.

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